Commodore Jacob Jones, a naval hero of the War of 1812, was born on a farm near Smyrna in March 1768. Orphaned while still a young child, he had a somewhat shaky start in life but went on to study medicine before joining the US Navy as a Midshipman in 1799. It was as Commander of the USS Wasp during the War of 1812 that he achieved lasting fame by capturing the British warship HMS Frolic in the face of overwhelming odds. The legislature of his native Delaware celebrated this achievement by presenting him with a commemorative silver urn, now part of our collections.
This impressive presentation piece was made in 1814 by silversmiths Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner, and is inscribed to Jacob Jones, Commander of the Sloop of War Wasp, by the Legislature of the State of Delaware. Jacob Jones went on to have a starred naval career, commanding the USS Macedonian and the USS Mohawk and later serving as Commodore of the US squadrons in the Mediterranean and Pacific during the 1820s. He also served as a Navy Commissioner in Washington DC (1824-1826), commanded the Baltimore Naval Station (1829-39), and served as Port Captain of New York Harbor (1842-45). His final assignment was as Governor of the Philadelphia Naval Asylum (1845-50). Jacob Jones died in Philadelphia on August 3, 1850 and is buried in Wilmington at Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery.